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  • Christopher Le

What happens if I transfer my assets prior to filing for Supplemental Security Income (SSI)?

Transferring Assets Prior to Filing for SSI

If you transferred assets for less than what they were worth so that you could qualify for Supplemental Security Income AKA SSI, the SSA may penalize you by making you ineligible for up to 36 months. The first thing you need to look at is the SSI Resource Limit.

SSI Resource Limit

To qualify for SSI, you can have only $2,000 in assets if your an individual/single, or $3,000 for a couple. This asset limitation does not factor in your house or 1 car. This means that if you have a house and 1 car, it will not be considered an asset towards the limits. If you have assets exceeding the $2000 for individual and $3000 for couple, you can be penalized for giving away/transferring property or assets, OR selling them for less than their fair market value in order to fall under the asset limits. So if youre trying to work around the system, think again!

36 Month Look Back Period

If you've recently sold, transferred or simply given away your assets in order to fall under the resource limits, the Social Security Administration will investigate these "Resource Transfers" when you apply for SSI. The agency uses a three-year or 36 month "look-back period" when evaluating resource/asset transfers. This means, that any transfers that are made in the last 36 months will be considered in determining whether you are eligible for SSI.

How Long Will I Be Ineligible For If I Made A Transfer?

Social Security Administration calculates the penalty period by taking the total value of the resource that you were not properly compensated for and dividing that number by the amount of the monthly SSI payment in your state on the date of the transfer. So for example, lets say you transferred the title of a vehicle that has a market value of $8400 to a family member and your SSI monthly payment would have been $840, you would have to wait 10 months before you can collect SSI. That 10 months would be your penalty period and the 10 months represents the number of months you can't receive SSI payments for. The ineligibility period starts with the month following the transfer, and the maximum penalty period is 36 months.

When your period of ineligibility is about to come to an end, its best that you contact SSA to make sure they start up your SSI benefits when you are eligible again. Social Security will not automatically issue SSI to you at the end of the ineligibility period. You will still need to show proof that you are still disabled and that you meet the income and asset requirements before SSA will begin paying you.

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